4×400-meter relay team, Gilbert earn trip to State
By Lance Catchings
Senior Walker Gilbert and the school-record-holding 4×400-meter relay team earned berths to the State Track Meet May 10-11 with their Regional Meet performance.
The boys’ track team earned a fifth-place finish as a team with 32 points at the regional track meet held at Texas A&M University-Kingsville over the weekend. Head Coach Kent Walker praised his team’s preparation after regionals, admitting that the travel all the way to Kingsville may have affected some of his athletes.
“Some competed better than they had, and some didn’t do as well as they had in the past,” Walker said. “Going to Kingsville and staying down there may have had a little impact on it, but I am very proud of the way the kids competed over the weekend. I felt we handled our preparation well. Our four seniors knew what they were going down there for and they handled it very well.”
Despite the move from Region III to Region IV this year, Walker said the competition was similar to what they have experienced in the past. For the athletes that did not advance to State, Walker said they have nothing to hang their heads about.
“All of our kids that competed at regionals had a great season,” he said. “To get to regionals and compete by getting in the top four in district and top four in the area meet are big accomplishments. The kids that are not advancing this year are mostly juniors. Kyle Harrison came out as a senior and ran the 4×100-meter relay for us this year, and that was good for him. We are proud of him for coming out and running track. Brady Brewer, Gabe Diaz, Kevin Berber, Grayson Ramey and Walker Baty will all be back next year. We are proud of Austin Levee coming out and competing for us as
a senior, and we are proud of Justin Montgomery for competing in shot put for us. Most of the kids that came out this year for us did well. We would have loved for them all to advance to State and get a couple more weeks of practice, but I am proud of all of them.”
Walker explained how tough the competition is once an athlete gets to regionals, and said to be one of the top eight in your event and advance to the State Track Meet is a special thing. Gilbert was the only individual qualifier, taking second in the 400-meter dash in a time of 49.92.
“It is not easy to qualify for the State Track Meet,” Walker said. “Walker Gilbert has worked extremely hard since last year to get to where he is now. Last year, Walker continued to push and push, and when you work that hard the results will come. He is just proof that if you’re willing to work for it, then it is attainable. The level of competition will be extremely high for him at the State Meet. I am hoping it continues to push him to do even better. I believe the school record is 48.8, and he has the potential to set the school record, in my opinion. I think he is going to be pushed to possibly accomplish that. I just want him to go to work over the next two weeks, and that is what he has done all year. We felt all year we had a good shot to get him there, and we’re excited he will get a chance to do it.”
Joseph Pezold, KC Robinson, Benjamin White and Gilbert make up the 4×400-meter relay team that earned a berth to the State Meet, and Walker said there is still plenty of work to be done if they want to come away with a medal.
“We believe our 4×400-meter relay team has great potential,” Walker said. “To go do it on the big stage at the State Track Meet at the University of Texas is a fun thing. We will put it all together at the State Meet and see what happens. This group already has the school record this year that they ran at district, so it will be a lot of fun to see what they can do. We didn’t run as well as we had been, but nobody did. The motto for the next few weeks is ‘Trade it in for gold,’ so we’ll see if we can get that done. We will run and push hard. I still feel like we have a little more to give, so we will push a little harder and see if we can go out and get it done.”
Regional running results
Gilbert finished second in the 400-meter dash in 49.92. Gabriel Diaz finished 12th in the 800-meter run in a time of 2:09.37. Berber finished third in the 1600-meter run in 4:36.90 and Diaz finished 14th in 5:11.72. Berber also finished 10th in the 3200-meter run in a time of 10:19.07. Pezold, Robinson, White and Gilbert finished second in the 4×400-meter relay in a time of 3:24.56.
Regional field events
Montgomery finished seventh in the shot put with a toss of 48-04.25, and Baty finished ninth with a toss of 46-06. Levee finished 14th in discus with a throw of 120-07. Ramey finished fifth in triple jump with a leap of 42-04.